My Ears Are Blown to Bits by All the Rifle Hits, but Still I Crave that Sound.

I am in the surprisingly small minority of listeners who actually enjoy Vampire Weekend’s Contra more than their critically-acclaimed debut. Sure, there’s no “A-Punk” or “Oxford Comma” that sticks out on Contra, and the novelty of the crisp button-down shirts and vintage Ray Bans have worn almost as thin as the pastel Toms sported by the boys from Columbia University. Sure, Pitchfork still gave Contra an 8.6, which probably led the casual listener to blame the tastemakers for jumping on a hipster bandwagon. Sure, there are many reasons to debunk the myth that Contra is a carefully crafted assortment of new and old; of classic thigh-slapping indie-dance (“Holiday” is the new “Mansard Roof”), and of the new synth-driven melodies closer to Rostam Batmanglij’s side project, Discovery (see: “Diplomat’s Son” or “White Sky”). Sure, part of the reason why the album was considered a letdown was that the two first singles, “Horchata” and “Cousins”, are two of the messier songs on an otherwise pristine album. Sure, It took me at least ten full listens trough the album to come to this conclusion. And, sure, even my co-writer doesn’t like Vampire Weekend.

Each and every time, though, I kept coming back to one song that ties the whole album together; the flagship track. “Giving Up the Gun” is a masterpiece of sound, complete with an infections drum pattern, a sing-song melody aided by xylophones, and a guitar rhythm that resonates in my head long after the song is finished. When the band announced a music video for the song starring RZA, Lil’ Jon, Joe Jonas, and Jake Gyllenhaal, my curiosity was piqued. I was rewarded a few days later with this masterful video, in which a young girl defeats a series of competitors in the preppiest game of tennis every played. Jake steals the show with his throat-slashing gesture and pint of whiskey that he drinks while casually rallying with our hero. Check the video for yourself above, and the single below. And, please, give Contra a chance.

MP3: Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up the Gun”

6 Responses to My Ears Are Blown to Bits by All the Rifle Hits, but Still I Crave that Sound.

  1. Adrian says:

    Ok, I kind of like this song. That’s all you’re getting.

  2. Kathrina says:

    ahhhh. I like them both equally. Comparing the two for me is similar in trying to compare all three albums of the Hush Sound and trying to pick which one I like the most.

    It’s impossible.
    They’re both amazing.

  3. Ingrid says:

    I adore Giving Up The Gun, definitely my favourite track on the album and the reason I finally decided to buy it! Now when I start listening to the album I start with this track, and then go back to Horchata after I think Ur a Contra (which I love and is probably my second favourite track). The album wasn’t something I loved straight away and was definitely a grower. Horchata is not my favourite song to be starting the album off with…

  4. Zack says:

    Run and Holiday are also fantastic songs.

  5. Hmm, you’ve piqued my interest. To be honest, I don’t know why I haven’t taken the time to listen to Contra yet. Their debut was one of a handful of albums that I bought last year and it’s the only one in my my collection that doesn’t really sound like anything else. “Give Up The Gun” is the jam though and the video works.

    PS. Vampire Weekend is headlining The Roots Picnic this year.

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